1968: The Year in Music

1968: The Year in Music

by Marc Nuccio

The year 1968 produced a wide variety of songs that were top hits. These songs ranged from uplifting ballads to clear sociopolitical statements. Hey Jude, The Beatles’ chart-topping single, remained the number-one song on the charts in the United States for nine weeks in 1968. Hey Jude was a feel-good song that Paul McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon’s son, Julian, as Julian’s parents went through a divorce. The B-side of Hey Jude, titled Revolution, served in part as The Beatles’ response to the Vietnam War. The Rolling Stones also felt the need to address the war, with the song Street Fighting Man. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the song after a 1968 anti-war rally at London’s US embassy. “Revolution” and “Street Fighting Man” had vastly different messages, yet each song, released by the most popular rock bands of the day, conveyed the enormous impact that the Vietnam War was having on the Western world.

The Vietnam War shaped much of the year of 1968. Throughout the duration of the war, the United States spent about $168 billion on the war, and about $168,000 for each “enemy” killed. Nearly 60,000 Americans were killed during the war. This played a role in the widespread opposition to the war, both in the United States and throughout the Western world. At the United States embassy in London, a 1968 protest turned violent and led to over 200 arrests. Eighty-six people were treated by the St. John Ambulance Brigade, and 50 were taken to the hospital, including about 25 police officers. Protesters threw stones and firecrackers, as they broke through a blockade of police officers and went onto the lawn of the U.S. embassy. This protest spurred the Rolling Stones to write the song Street Fighting Man. The song described the anti-war sentiments shared by many in Great Britain, while noting that protests and demonstrations were frowned upon. The lyric “’cause in a sleepy London town, there’s no place for a street fighting man,” indicates that Great Britain did not openly welcome protests. The song’s seemingly revolutionary lyrics serve as the Rolling Stones’ response to the war.

The Beatles’ fast-paced hit “Revolution,” provided a different message than “Street Fighting Man.” This song provided a message of peace that seemed to suggest opposition to war in general. Lyrics such as “but when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out” convey the band’s distaste for violent conflict, and suggest a general opposition to the Vietnam War. The Beatles provide a more peaceful message throughout the song while decrying those who promote violence. The song references Mao Zedong in the lyric “but if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.” This link to Chairman Mao, whose revolution in China led to the deaths of more than 15 million people, suggests that those who promote rapid revolutions are harming society as a whole. Protesters against the Vietnam War would seem to fall into this category of revolutionaries. The Beatles openly oppose both the war and those protesting the war in the song, instead promoting a message of peace.

The contrast between “Street Fighting Man” and “Revolution” is indicative of two contrasting, yet thematically similar ideas that prevailed in 1968 regarding war. In “Street Fighting Man,” the Rolling Stones make their anti-war sentiments obvious. The song suggests that disruption through protesting in the streets is the best way to combat the war, despite British society’s reluctance to participate in such demonstrations. Meanwhile, The Beatles’ “Revolution” places blame on both those promoting war and those opposing war. The lyric “but when you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out” is demonstrative of a general opposition to war and violence. However, lyrics such as “but if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow” suggest that those who support a revolution against the establishment are also harming society. Both “Street Fighting Man” and “Revolution” are songs that promote peace; however, the authors of the songs suggest vastly different ways of bringing about peace.

Activity Sheet: Vietnam War Protests

The Vietnam War caused conflict and division in American Society. President Johnson was torn between the increasing involvement and the protest movement that was growing rapidly. The war and the conflicts it caused were dividing the nation and causing a drain on resources that needed to be used on the Great Society Program. View the documents, and then answer the questions that follow.

Document 1: “The Department of Defense (DOD) reports that the United States spent about $168 billion (worth around $950 billion in 2011 dollars) in the entire war including $111 billion on military operations (1965 – 1972) and $28.5 billion on economic and military aid to Saigon regime (1953 – 1975). At that rate, the United States spent approximately $168,000 for an “enemy” killed.” (Source: http://thevietnamwar.info/how-much-vietnam-war-cost/)

Question: How does this suggest that the Vietnam War is draining United States resources?

Document 2: “During the Vietnam war, in order to meet its required war efforts, factories in the U.S. which used to produce consumer goods were now converted to produce military equipment. This change caused a plunge in shopping rates, thus hurting the economy. Military fund spent overseas also led to budget deficits which caused a weaker dollar, galloping inflation and increasing interest rates. Owing to the Vietnam War, American economy was brought down from its growth in early 1960s to an economic crisis in 1970s.” (Source: http://thevietnamwar.info/how-much-vietnam-war-cost/)

Question: How did the Vietnam War affect the United States economy?

Document 3: “U.S. combat losses totaled 46,463; another 10,355 died from non-hostile causes. A total of 303,704 were wounded. (The highest number of combat deaths in U.S. history was recorded in World War II, when 291,557 were said to have lost their lives.”

Draft_card_burning_NYC_1967

Question: What was the impact of the Vietnam War on American soldiers?

Document 4 Source: http://vietnamwarera.com/post/36656140606

Johnson is a war criminal

Questions: What do the signs say?  Why do these protesters feel this way about President Lyndon B. Johnson?

Document 5: Young men burn their draft cards in New York City on April 15, 1967.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draft-card_burning

Questions: What do the signs say? How do these protesters feel about the Vietnam War?

Summary: How did the American public feel about the Vietnam War? Why do you think they felt this way? [Materials borrowed from The Integrated Social Studies/English Language Arts Curriculum, Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES]

Activity Sheet: The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man

Directions: In the year 1968, there were increased protests in the United States in response to events during the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War shaped much of the music that was released during this time. The song Street Fighting Man, by The Rolling Stones, is their response to an anti-war rally at London’s US embassy in 1968.

Part 1:

Before we listen to the song, read a BBC article, released in 1968, about the anti-war protest at London’s US embassy. Highlight three important facts from the story, and write three notes in the margins.

marchers-protest-in-London

1968: Anti-Vietnam demo turns violent
Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/17/newsid_2818000/2818967.stm)

More than 200 people have been arrested after thousands of demonstrators clashed in an anti-Vietnam war protest outside the United States embassy in London. The St John Ambulance Brigade said it treated 86 people for injuries. Fifty were taken to hospital including up to 25 police officers. The mood at the rally was described as good humored. The violence broke out when the protesters marched to the US embassy in Grosvenor Square. The embassy was surrounded by hundreds of police. They stood shoulder to shoulder to cordon off the part of the square closest to the embassy.

Tensions rose as the crowd refused to back off and mounted officers rode at the demonstrators. The protesters broke through the police ranks onto the lawn of the embassy, tearing up the plastic fence and uprooting parts of a hedge. During a protracted battle, stones, earth, firecrackers and smoke bombs were thrown. One officer was treated for a reported serious spinal injury, another for a neck injury. One officer had his hat knocked off and was struck continuously on the back of the head with a stick from a banner as he clung, head down, to his horse’s neck. Labor MP Peter Jackson, has said he will be tabling a private question for answer by the Home Secretary about what he called “police violence”. He told The Times newspaper: “I was particularly outraged by the violent use of police horses, who charged into the crowd even after they had cleared the street in front of the embassy.”

 Questions

  1. What was the initial mood at the rally?
  2. What prompted the rally to become violent?
  3. Why do you think the protesters were so upset?

Part 2:

The Rolling Stones wrote this song in part as a response to the protests. As you listen to the song, read along. Three significant lyrics have been highlighted for you. After you listen to the song, answer the questions on the right regarding the highlighted lyrics.

“Street Fighting Man” by The Rolling Stones

Ev’rywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy
Cause summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy

Question: Why is the time “right for fighting in the street?” What form might this “fighting” take?

But what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band
Cause in sleepy London town
There’s just no place for a street fighting man
No

Hey! Think the time is right for a palace revolution
But where I live the game to play is compromise solution
Well, then what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band
‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s no place for a street fighting man
No

Question: What is a “palace revolution?”    

Hey! Said my name is called disturbance
I’ll shout and scream, I’ll kill the king, I’ll rail at all his servants

Question: Why does the author want to “kill the king?”

Well, what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band
Cause  in sleepy London town
There’s no place for a street fighting man
No

Question: Look at the chorus which is repeated three times in the song. What does the chorus tell us about how Londoners can react to the Vietnam War?

Activity: The Beatles “Revolution”

Directions: In the year 1968, there were increased protests in the United States in response to events during the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War shaped much of the music that was released during this time. The song “Revolution,” by The Beatles, is their response to the events of the war. As you listen to the song, read along. Highlight three significant lyrics, and describe what they tell us about war. One has been highlighted for you as an example. On the right column, you may take notes regarding what the lyric tells us about The Beatles’ feelings about the Vietnam War.

Pre-listening directions: The song “Revolution” by The Beatles was released in 1968. Listen to the song, and follow along on your Revolution lyrics sheet. A significant lyric from the song has been highlighted for you. As you read along, highlight three additional significant lyrics. You may take notes on the right side of the lyric sheet.

Post -listening directions: On the left side of the chart, copy the three significant lyrics that you highlighted. You will see that the first significant lyric has been included for you. Then, for each of the significant lyrics, describe (1) what the lyric means, and (2) why the lyric is significant. Use your knowledge of the Vietnam War to assist in filling out the chart.

Lyric What does this lyric mean? Why is it significant?
“But when you talk about destruction, Don’t you know that you can count me out”  

 

Lyrics: “Revolution” (by the Beatles)

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re all doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright, al…

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You’d better free your mind instead

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

Don’t you know know it’s gonna be alright
Alright, alright

Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright
Alright, alright

 

 

 

Student Take-Over at Columbia University

Student Take-Over at Columbia University  

by Kyle Novak

A. Life was different at Columbia University in 1968. There was a war and a draft. There were ROTC drills on South Field, military and CIA recruiters on campus. The Civil Rights movement, led by the Black Panthers, captured students’ imaginations. Dr. King had just been killed and the cities were in flames. You couldn’t ignore all this.

columbia-722

B. On April 23, several hundred students gathered at the sundial on the Columbia campus to protest the Vietnam War because the university had a relationship with the Institute for Defense Analyses and supported other war related activities, such as ROTC drills on campus. The students were also outraged by the lack of sensitivities of black New Yorkers, as the University attempted to construct a gym that usurp a portion of Morningside Park and be accessible to neighboring Harlem residents mainly through an ignominious (embarrassing) back door.

C. By morning, African American students continued to occupy Hamilton, while other Columbia and Barnard students, mostly white, took over President Grayson Kirk’s office in Low Library. Soon student protesters took over three other buildings—Fayerweather, Mathematics, and Avery. The protesters were demonized as ill-tempered and self-righteous radicals who resorted to militant disruption when other means of protest were still available. On April 30th, the New York City police arrested more than 700 protesters.

Questions:

  1. In Paragraph A, what couldn’t be ignored at Columbia University?
  2. According to Paragraph B, what groups led the protest on April 23?
  3. What happened to the students in Paragraph C?
  4. How were the students described in Paragraph C?
  5. In your opinion, Is this an accurate description of the events? Why?
  6. In your opinion, did the students act appropriately? If not, what could they have done differently?
Sources: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/1968/
http://www.columbia1968.com/history/#more
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/nyregion/columbia-university-1968-protests.html

NY Times: 300 protesting Columbia Students Barricade Office of College Dean (April 24, 1968)

A. Three-hundred chanting students barricaded the Dean of Columbia College in his office yesterday to protest the construction of a gymnasium in Morningside Park and a defense oriented program participated in by Columbia University.

columbia-uprising-1968-2

B. The students say that construction of the gymnasium would be “racist” because it would deprive Negroes in the area of recreational facilities. The charge against the defense program, the Institute for Defense Analysis, was that it supported the war effort in Vietnam.

C. The protest, organized by the leftist Students for a Democratic Society, had the support of other Columbia campus groups. Representatives of several Negro organizations unrelated to Columbia joined the protest.

D. The protesters marched throughout the campus, where Mr. Mark Rudd addressed the group at the sundial. “We’re going to have to take a hostage to make them let go of I.D.A and let go of the gym” he shouted.

Questions:

  1. What was occurring in  Paragraph A?
  2. According to  Paragraph B, why were the students protesting?
  3. What does Mark Rudd suggest in Paragraph D?
  4. In your opinion, how would Civil Rights organizations impact the protest?

NY Times Editorial: Hoodlumism at Columbia (April 25, 1968)

The destructive minority of students at Columbia University, along with their not so friendly allies among community militants, have offered a degrading spectacle of hoodlum tactics-the exaltation of irresponsibility over reason. Whatever causes these students to claim to be supporting have been defiled by their vandalism.

The student action, organized by the extremist forces of the Students for a Democratic Society, sabotages that search for a constructive course. By turning down the administration’s invitation to discuss their grievances and demands, the self-styled student leaders have shown their true purpose of disruption.

Massive student participation in the Presidential campaign has given a persuasive demonstration that young people can apply their political power in meaningful ways through legitimate and legal forms of expression. The students at Columbia and elsewhere, undermine academic freedom and the free society itself by resorting to such junta methods as wrecking the university President’s office and holding administrators and trustees as hostages.

columbia-4

Questions:

  1. According to the editorial, what has vandalism done to the protest?
  2. In Paragraph B, how does the editorial describe the Students for a Democratic Society?
  3. In Paragraph C, how does the author characterize the student participation in the presidential campaign?
  4. Do you agree or disagree with the editorial depiction of the student strike? Explain.

NY Times: Columbia Halting Work on its Gym (April 26, 1968)

Columbia 5 harlem protest

Columbia University announced early this morning that it’s halting work on the gymnasium that had set off a student protest. It also said it was closing the university until Monday, and was postponing and police action on campus. Despite the announcement students remained in the buildings they had occupied.

Yesterday afternoon, Dr. Grayson Kirk, the university president, refused to grant demonstrating students their key demand- an amnesty covering all participants in the protest, which is primarily directed against the construction of a new gymnasium in Morningside Park.

Complicating efforts to end the campus dispute was a split between Negro students holding Hamilton Hall and white students led by the Students for a Democratic Society holding the other three buildings and conducting picketing.

Student leaders and university sources said that although the objectives of the two groups were largely similar, they had broken over tactics, with the Negroes advocating more militancy than the whites were prepared to accept.

Questions:

  • According to Paragraph B, what did Dr. Kirk refuse to grant?
  • What is complicating efforts to end the dispute based off the information in paragraph C?
  • In your opinion, why did Dr. Kirk not want to grant amnesty to the protesters?
  • How do you think the student groups were able to continue the protest for several days despite having different tactics?

Times Editorial: Citadel of Reason (April 29, 1968)

A. It was apparent from the start that the youthful junta which has substituted dictatorship by temper tantrum for undergraduate democracy neither cared about nor has received support from the majority of students. That isolated it from even the shadow of moral right to demand amnesty for its irresponsibility.

B. But Columbia’s slowness to do what it is now doing should not permit the rebels slogans to obscure the facts underlying the present test. The university administration offered to discuss all grievances with the dissidents before they staged their coup.

Questions:

  1. What is the definition of “junta” in paragraph A?
  2. What is the opinion of the author in paragraph A?
  3. According to paragraph B, How did the university attempt to address the protesters?
  4. In your opinion, is this excerpt biased? Provide evidence supporting your opinion.

NY Times: 1,000 Police Move onto Columbia Campus to Oust Students (April 30, 1968)

As the hour for the police assault approached, tension mounted sharply on the campus as groups of students held informal meetings. At 1:45am, when word reached Mathematics building that “a bust” or police raid, was imminent, student demonstrators began strengthening their barricades and girding themselves for the assault. The police commanders were said to be carrying written instructions from Police commissioner Howard R. Leary to use necessary force but to show restraint in their handling of the students. The police acted in response to a request from the administration of the university it was understood. Under normal procedure, the police would take no action on the campus, which is private property, unless formally authorized to do so by university officials.

Question: In your opinion, should police have been called to oust the student demonstrators? Explain.

Questions:

columbia-1968-protests

  1. What is happening in the photo?
  2. Based on the description above and the photo, would you have participated in the take-over if you were a student at Columbia?
  3. How long did the protest last?
  4. What is the definition of “amnesty” on April 27?
  5. In your opinion, did school administrators and the the police act appropriately on April 30th? Why or why not?

Timeline of Events

Tuesday April 23
Noon: SDS sundial rally
2:00 pm: Sit-in begins in Hamilton Hall, Dean Henry Coleman restrained by students
2:50 pm: 6 Demands formulated, students refuse to leave until demands are met
Wednesday April 24
6:15 am: Students break into Low Library
3:30 pm: Dean Coleman released
8:00 pm: Administration makes unsuccessful compromise offer
Thursday April 25
2:00 am: Fayweather Hall occupied by Students
4:00 pm: Ad Hoc Faculty Group, first proposals to end demonstrations
8:00 pm: Strikers reject Ad Hoc Faculty proposals
Friday April 26 1:05 am: Mathematics Hall occupied by Students

3:20 am: Gym construction suspended, police action cancelled

1:10 pm: H. Rap Brown and Stokley Carmichael enter campus

Saturday April 27
1:00 am: Mark Rudd rejects mediation that does not include amnesty for striking students
11:30 am: Faculty cordon around Low Library established to prevent access to demonstrators
Sunday April 28
8:00 am: Ad Hoc Faculty group announces final resolution
6:00 pm: Demonstrators attempt to pass food through counter-demonstrators cordon into Low Library
Monday April 29
6:30 pm: Strikers reject final resolution
Tuesday April 30
5:30 am: NYCPD remove students from occupied buildings and clear campus, 712 arrested, 148 injured
8:00 pm: Students hold strike meeting in Wollman Auditorium

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Its Impact

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Its Impact

by Megan Bernth with Kyle Novak

Martin-Luther-King-Assassinted-New-York-Times-April-5-1968

The life, ideas, and achievements of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. enter the curriculum during an examination of the African American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s or if a school commemorates his birthday or Black History Month. Reverend King’s impact on the United States continued after he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 because his ideas lived on and his achievements continued to influence people. His assassination also contributed to the racial divide in the United States, as African American communities exploded in anger. The material in this curriculum package focuses on the immediate response to his murder, testimonials and rioting, controversy about his killer, and King’s long-term legacy. Material in the package includes photographs, videos, quotes, and compelling questions. As a culminating activity, the students read three quotes statements by Reverend King that discuss his ideas of nonviolence and passive civil resistance, compare them to examples of contemporary protests, and consider the implications of Reverend King’s ideas for today.

Hobbs-Lorraine-Motel-Martin-Luther-King
Background: In early April of 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was visiting Memphis, Tennessee to support a sanitation workers’ strike. He had faced mounting criticisms from young Blacks who thought his nonviolent attitude was doing their cause a disservice. It was because of these criticisms he had begun moving his support beyond blacks to all poor Americans and those who opposed the Vietnam War. While standing on a balcony the evening of April 4, a sniper shot and killed him. James Earl Ray was eventually arrested and convicted of the crime.

Martin Luther King Is Slain in Memphis; A White is Suspected; Johnson Urges Calm

By Early Caldwell, New York Times, April 5, 1968, p. 1

Memphis, Friday, April 5 – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached nonviolence and racial brotherhood, was fatally shot here last night by a distant gunman who raced away and escaped. Four thousand National Guard troops were ordered into Memphis by Gov. Buford Ellington after the 39-year-old Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader died. A curfew was imposed on the shocked city of 550,000 inhabitants, 40 per cent of whom are Negro. But the police said the tragedy had been followed by incidents that included sporadic shooting, fires, bricks and bottles thrown at policemen, and looting that started in Negro districts and then spread over the city.

Police Director Frank Holloman said the assassin might have been a white man who was “50 to 100 yards away in a flophouse.” Chief of Detectives W.P. Huston said a late model white Mustang was believed to have been the killer’s getaway car. Its occupant was described as a bareheaded white man in his 30’s, wearing a black suit and black tie.

A high-powered 30.06-caliber rifle was found about a block from the scene of the shooting, on South Main Street. “We think it’s the gun,” Chief Huston said, reporting it would be turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Dr. King was shot while he leaned over a second-floor railing outside his room at the Lorraine Motel. He was chatting with two friends just before starting for dinner. Paul Hess, assistant administrators at St. Joseph’s Hospital, where Dr. King died despite emergency surgery, said the minister had “received a gunshot wound of the right side of the neck, at the root of the neck, a gaping wound.” In a television broadcast after the curfew was ordered here, Mr. Holloman said, “rioting has broken out in parts of the city” and “looting is rampant.” Dr. King had come back to Memphis Wednesday morning to organize support once again for 1,300 sanitation workers who have been striking since Lincoln’s Birthday. Just a week ago yesterday he led a march in the strikers’ cause that ended in violence. A 16-year-old Negro was killed, 62 persons were injured and 200 were arrested.

Policemen were pouring into the motel area, carrying rifles and shotguns and wearing helmets. But the King aides said it seemed to be 10 or 15 minutes before a fire Department ambulance arrived. Dr. King was apparently still living when he reached the St. Joseph’s Hospital, operating room for emergency surgery. He was borne in on a stretcher, the bloody towel over his head. It was the same emergency room to which James H. Meredith, first Negro enrolled at the University of Mississippi, was taken after he was ambushed and shot in June 1965, at Hernando, Miss., a few miles south of Memphis; Mr. Meredith was not seriously hurt.

Questions:

  1. What does the New York Times report in the headline?
  2. How is Dr. King described in the article?
  3. In your opinion, why did cities declare curfews following Dr. King’s assassination?
  4. Why was Dr. King in Memphis?

President’s Plea, On TV, He Deplores “Brutal” Murder of Negro Leader

New York Times, April 5, 1968, p. 1

President Johnson deplored tonight in a brief television address to the nation the “brutal slaying” of the Re. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He asked “every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck Dr. King, who lived by nonviolence.” Mr. Johnson said he was postponing his scheduled departure tonight for a Honolulu conference on Vietnam and that instead he would leave tomorrow. The President spoke from the White House. At the Washington Hilton Hotel, where Democratic members of Congress had gathered to honor the President and Vice President, Mr. Humphrey, his voice strained with emotion, said: “Martin Luther King stands with other American martyrs in the cause of freedom and justice. His death is a terrible tragedy.”

 Questions:

  1. How did President Johnson react to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.?
  2. Why did Vice President Humphrey describe Dr. King as one of the “American martyrs in the cause of freedom and justice”?

A Conversation with Dr. King

MLK

  1. Where do the ideas of non-violent civil disobedience come from?

“From the beginning a basic philosophy guided the (civil rights) movement. This guiding principle has since been referred to variously as non-violent resistance, non-cooperation, and passive resistance. But in the first days of protest none of these expressions were mentioned; the phrase most often heard was “Christian love.” . . . It was Jesus of Nazareth that stirred the Negroes to protest with the creative weapon of love. As the days unfolded, however, the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi (a leader in the struggle for independence in India) began to exert its influence. I had come to see early that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was of the most potent (powerful) weapons available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom.”

  1. When is civil disobedience necessary?

“There is nothing wrong with a traffic law which says you have to stop for a red light. But when a fire is raging the fire truck goes right through that red light, and normal traffic had better get out of the way. Or, when a man is bleeding to death, the ambulance goes through those red lights at top speed . . . Massive civil disobedience is a strategy for social change which is at least as forceful as an ambulance with its siren on full.”

  1. Why do you choose non-violent resistance over violence?

“To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system… Non-cooperation with evil is as much an obligation as is cooperation with good. Violence often brings about momentary results . . . But . . . It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.”

Questions:

  1. There was a wave of rioting in African American communities following the assassination of Dr. King. In your opinion, what would Dr. King have said to the rioters if he were alive?
  2. As you learn about the riots that followed the assassination of Dr. King, consider: Were the riots a legitimate response to King’s assassination?
  3. In your opinion, what has been the impact of the assassination of Dr. King and the riots that followed on American society?

Race Riots following the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 5-9, 1968)

Background: In the week following the death of Dr. King, riots broke out across the country. It is important to note that while Dr. King’s death may have sparked the riots, the long-standing history of racial tensions and conflicts had created an environment where violent protests were widely accepted in the wake of King’s assassination. President Johnson urged Americans to “reject the blind violence” that had killed King. Despite the President’s pleas, violence erupted and tens of thousands of National Guard, military and police officers were called on to quell the riots. By the end of the week, more than 21,000 were arrested and 2,600 injured, with 39 dead. With economic damages estimated to reach at least $65 million, entire areas and communities were destroyed. Of the 125 cities affected, Washington, Chicago and Baltimore were three that stand out amongst the rest.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TZ_5FmnSMs

Washington D.C.

Eyewitness to the Riot

Virginia Ali (a black woman who owned a restaurant with her husband in Washington): “I remember the sadness more than anything else. The radio stations were playing hymns, and people were coming in crying. People were out of control with anger and sadness and frustration. They broke into the liquor store across the street and were coming out with bottles of Courvoisier. They had no money, these youngsters. They were coming into the Chili Bowl saying, “Could you just give us a chili dog or a chili half smoke? We’ll give you this.”

George Pelecanos (an eleven-year-old black boy living in Washington): “The biggest mistake on the administrative side was not closing the schools and the government on Friday. Fourteenth Street had burned down, and officials thought it was over. But overnight, people all over the city had started talking about what was going to happen the next day. It got around by what they called the ghetto telegraph – the stoop, the barbershops, the telephones. Very early  in the morning, the teachers and school administrators started freaking out because the students were out of control – they just started to walk out. People realized: This isn’t over. It’s just beginning, and we have to get out of here.”

Questions:

  1. Describe the scenes shown in the video. Which scene is the most powerful? Why?
  2. How are the rioters portrayed in the video?
  3. How do the people interviewed remember the riot forty years later?
  4. According to Georg Pelecanos , what was the biggest mistake by authorities?
  5. In your opinion, does Ali’s quote provide a possible explanation for the riots?
  6. After examining the video, the quotes, and the photographs, which source do you think provides the most accurate representation of the riots? Why?

Baltimore, Maryland

Eyewitness to the Riot

Ruby Glover (a Jazz singer and administrator at Johns Hopkins Hospital) – “It looked like everything was on fire. It appeared that everything that we loved and adored and enjoyed was just being destroyed. It was just hideous.”

James  Bready (editorial writer for the Evening Sun) – “We drove along North Avenue, and I remember seeing kids running along from store to store with lighted torches to touch them off. But nobody ever tried to stop the car or interfere with us. I think black people felt release after generations of ‘You mustn’t do this, you mustn’t go there, you can’t say that or think that.’ Suddenly, the lid was off.”

Tommy D’Alesandro (mayor of Baltimore during the riots) – “There was hurt within the black community that they were not getting their fair share. We were coming from a very segregated city during the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s – and it was still a segregated atmosphere.”

Questions:

  1. How does Ruby Glover remember the riots?
  2. What is James Bready’s explanation for the riots?
  3. What is Tommy D’Alesandro’s explanation for the Baltimore riots?

Chicago, Illinois

Questions:

  1. What does Richard Barnett believe is a positive outcome of these events?
  2. What is the “ragged adolescent army” described by Ben Heineman?
  3. What does Mrs. Dorsey accuse the police of doing?

Trentonian

Trenton, New Jersey

Carmen Armenti (mayor of Trenton during the riots): “This was something that was simmering in black communities for a while before our disturbances. It was not an easy time to be a public official. They were not good economic times, and there was high unemployment among African-Americans and a multitude of other frustrations for black people. Keeping the lid on racial strife was the top political priority in those days.”

Tom Murphy (a young police officer in Trenton): “I’ll never forget that scene as long as I live. They were really whacking them at us. The golf balls were hitting guys and smashing car windshields. You had to dive for cover. They ran him [another police office] over with a truck. He was lucky it had those high wheels like the ones on the SUVs we have today. If it was a car it would have killed him, but he only got hit in the head with that ‘pumpkin’ for the axle in the back of the truck.”

Questions:

  1. Why does Mayor Armenti say “it was not a good time to be a public official”?
  2. How is Murphy’s account of the riots different from others we have read?
  3. How are events portrayed in The Trentonian?

John Lindsay

New York City and Buffalo, New York

Mayor John Lindsay: “It especially depends on the determination of the young men of this city to respect our laws and the teachings of the martyr, Martin Luther King. We can work together again for progress and peace in this city and this nation, for now I believe we are ready to scale the mountain from which Dr. King saw the promised land.”

Michele Martin (A young African American girl during the 1968 riot in conversation with her FDNY father): “Why is this happening?” “They killed King.” “Why is the supermarket on fire?” They’re mad.” “Why are they mad?” “Because they killed King.” “Why can’t we go out and play?” “There’s too much going on. Maybe when things calm down.”

David Garth (Mayoral press aide): “There was a mob so large it went across 125th Street from storefront to storefront. My life is over. He [Lindsay] had no written speech. No prepared remarks. He just held up his hand and said, ‘this is a terrible thing,’ He just calmed people, and then this gigantic wave stared marching down 125th Street, and somehow Lindsay was leading it.”

False Rumors Raise City’s Fears; Racial Unrest Exaggerated April 6, 1968, New York Times, pg. 1

Mayor, Quoting King, Urges Racial Peace Here; Lindsay Calls on Negroes in City to Follow Doctrine of Using Love to Fight Hate April 6, 1968, New York Times, pg. 26

 VIOLENCE ERUPTS IN BUFFALO AREA; Looting and Fire Reported in Negro East Side  April 9, 1968, New York Times, pg. 36

Questions:

  1. Why did Mayor Lindsay walk the streets and discuss the “young men of the city”?
  2. In your opinion, why did Michele Martin’s father offer such simple answers?
  3. How did David Garth feel when he and the mayor faced the rioters?

Senator Robert Kennedy Speaks to the Nation

After the assassination of Reverend King, Senator Robert Kennedy interrupted his Presidential campaign to address the nation. An audio version of the speech is available on the website of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Source: https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready-Reference/RFK-Speeches/Statement-on-the-Assassination-of-Martin-Luther-King.aspx

(A) I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight. Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black–considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization–black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

(B) Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love. For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times. My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

(C) What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black. So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love–a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

(D) But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.

Questions:

  1. What information does Senator Kennedy report”?
  2. In paragraph “B”, how does Kennedy suggest the country heal in this difficult time?
  3. According to Senator Kennedy, what did the United States need at this time?
  4. How did Senator Kennedy try to present a message of hope?

Student Take-Over at Columbia University   by Kyle Novak

  1. Life was different at Columbia University in 1968. There was a war and a draft. There were ROTC drills on South Field, military and CIA recruiters on campus. The Civil Rights movement, led by the Black Panthers, captured students’ imaginations. Dr. King had just been killed and the cities were in flames. You couldn’t ignore all this.

columbia-1968-protests

On April 23, several hundred students gathered at the sundial on the Columbia campus to protest the Vietnam War because the university had a relationship with the Institute for Defense Analyses and supported other war related activities, such as ROTC drills on campus. The students were also outraged by the lack of sensitivities of black New Yorkers, as the University attempted to construct a gym that usurp a portion of Morningside Park and be accessible to neighboring Harlem residents mainly through an ignominious (embarrassing) back door.

Questions:

  1. In paragraph A, what couldn’t be ignored at Columbia University?
  2. According to paragraph B, what groups led the protest on April 23?
  3. What happened to the students in paragraph C?
  4. How were the students described in paragraph C?
  5. In your opinion, Is this an accurate description of the events? Why?
  6. In your opinion, did the students act appropriately? If not, what could they have done differently?
  7. By morning, African American students continued to occupy Hamilton, while other Columbia and Barnard students, mostly white, took over President Grayson Kirk’s office in Low Library. Soon student protesters took over three other buildings—Fayerweather, Mathematics, and Avery. The protesters were demonized as ill-tempered and self-righteous radicals who resorted to militant disruption when other means of protest were still available. On April 30th, the New York City police arrested more than 700 protesters.
Sources: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/1968/
http://www.columbia1968.com/history/#more
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/nyregion/columbia-university-1968-protests.html

Timeline of Events

Tuesday April 23
Noon: SDS sundial rally
2:00 pm: Sit-in begins in Hamilton Hall, Dean Henry Coleman restrained by students
2:50 pm: 6 Demands formulated, students refuse to leave until demands are met
Wednesday April 24
6:15 am: Students break into Low Library
3:30 pm: Dean Coleman released
8:00 pm: Administration makes unsuccessful compromise offer
Thursday April 25
2:00 am: Fayweather Hall occupied by Students
4:00 pm: Ad Hoc Faculty Group, first proposals to end demonstrations
8:00 pm: Strikers reject Ad Hoc Faculty proposals
Friday April 26 1:05 am: Mathematics Hall occupied by Students

3:20 am: Gym construction suspended, police action cancelled

1:10 pm: H. Rap Brown and Stokley Carmichael enter campus

Saturday April 27
1:00 am: Mark Rudd rejects mediation that does not include amnesty for striking students
11:30 am: Faculty cordon around Low Library established to prevent access to demonstrators
Sunday April 28
8:00 am: Ad Hoc Faculty group announces final resolution
6:00 pm: Demonstrators attempt to pass food through counter-demonstrators cordon into Low Library
Monday April 29
6:30 pm: Strikers reject final resolution
Tuesday April 30
5:30 am: NYCPD remove students from occupied buildings and clear campus, 712 arrested, 148 injured
8:00 pm: Students hold strike meeting in Wollman Auditorium

 

New York Times Reports a Year of Turmoil

New York Times Reports a Year of Turmoil

Students in Poland Clash with Police in Two More Cities (March 14, 1968)

Warsaw University Protest

People running away as police attack near the Warsaw University during student protests.

University students and the police clashed today in Cracow and Poznan as student demonstrations spread across Poland despite threats of punishment by the Government. Reports to Warsaw indicated that students in eight provincial cities had held protest meetings in sympathy with students in the capital since the first clash with the police at Warsaw University last Friday. In Warsaw, 8,000 students crowded today into the main auditorium of the Polytechnic School and applauded a motion that said they did not want to become the object of factional maneuverings in the Communist Party. The resolution adopted by the students of the Polytechnic School included the following points:

  • Respect of the Constitution especially its guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly.
  • Release of all students arrested since the first demonstrations last Friday.
  • Punishment for those who called the police onto the school grounds in violation of the traditional right of extra-territoriality accorded institutions of higher learning.
  • Guarantees that the school staff and professors who sympathized with the students would not be persecuted.
  • A request that “secret police now among us” within the auditorium should leave immediately.A stand dissociating students from anti-Semitism and also Zionism.
  • Increased possibilities for free discussions with professors.

The rector promised to discuss the resolution Friday with the Senate, the school’s highest executive body, which in turn would send the resolution to Parliament and appropriate authorities. However, he said some unspecified points in the resolution might be watered down.

Questions:

  1. Why did 8,000 students crowd into the auditorium of the Polytechnic School?
  2. Based on the photograph, what is one inference you can make about these protests?
  3. What do you think is the most important point of resolution adopted by the students of the Polytechnic School? Why?
  4. What do you think is the most unreasonable point of resolution adopted by the students of the Polytechnic School? Why?

United Farm Workers Strike

Background: Starting in 1965, hundreds of Mexican and Mexican-American farmworkers in Delano, California went on strike against grape growers led by Cesar Chavez, a co-leader of the National Farmworkers Association. The strike was about wages and work conditions, but also about respect, justice and equality. It pitted the powerless against the powerful. Eventually, tens of thousands more joined the fight rallying around the slogan around “Viva La Causa” (Long Live the Cause). In 1968, union President Chavez fasted for 25 days, promoting the principle of non-violence. By the late 1970s, growers in California and Florida finally recognized the United Farm Workers (UFW) union.

California Farm Workers

Striking Farm Workers

Coast Farm Union Chief to End Fast on 25th Day (March 6, 1968)

Upon urging of doctors, Ceasar Chavez, farm union leader, announced tonight that he would end his spiritual fast in its 25th day at a “mass of thanksgiving” this Sunday. He has been drinking only water since starting the fast 20 days ago to rededicate himself and his followers to non-violence in their attempts to organize farm workers. Doctors said the head of the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee faced permanent kidney damage if he continued to go without food. They said the lactic acid count in his blood was dangerously high.

Deal for Farm Workers (June 17, 1968)

A point of decision is nearing on Capital Hill in the long fight to extend agricultural workers the freedom to unionize that workers in industry generally have been guaranteed for more than thirty years. Hired farm labor is the most deprived section of the entire work force. Even now, with a Federal minimum wage finally in effect, the average annual earnings for farm workers run to substantially less than half the poverty level set by the Federal Government. A bill to give them the same organization and bargaining rights that now prevail for all other workers has been reported out of the House Labor Committee and is now bottled up in the Rules Committee . . . Agriculture is becoming big business. It is time that the 1.5 million laborers on the largest farms were brought under the umbrella of industrial democracy.

Questions:

  1. Why were Mexican-American farm workers on strike?
  2. How did Cesar Chavez try to revive the spirit of strikers and win public support?
  3. Why was the federal government considering changing labor law?

Johnson Says He Won’t Run (March 31, 1968)

(A) Lyndon Baines Johnson announced tonight: I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party as your President. Later, at a White House news conference, he said his decision was completely irrevocable. The President told his nationwide television audience.

(B) What we have won when all our people were united must not be lost in partisanship. I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in partisan decisions. Mr. Johnson, acknowledging that there was division in the American house, withdrew in the name of national unity, which he said was the ultimate strength of our country.

(C) With American sons in the field far away, he said, with the American future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the worlds’ hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office, the Presidency of your country.

(D) He began by quoting Franklin D. Roosevelt: Of those to whom much is given- much is asked. He could not say that no more would be asked of Americans, he continued, but[HB1]  he believed that now, no less than when the decade began, this generation of Americans is willing to pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This quotation from a celebrated passage of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address of Jan. 10, 1961, appeared to be a jab at Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who now is campaigning against the war in Vietnam.

(E) In his 37 years of public service, he said, he had put national unity ahead of everything because it was as true now as it had ever been that a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction, of party, of region, of religion, of race, is a house that cannot stand. But these gains, Mr. Johnson said, must not now be lost in suspicion and distrust and selfishness and politics. I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing.
(F) There was some speculation tonight that Mr. Johnson might believe he could work more effectively for peace in Vietnam if he were not a partisan candidate for re-election- despite the lame duck status that would confer on him. In support of this thesis, Mr. Johnson’s speech on Vietnam- which came before his withdrawal announcement- was notably conciliatory, although Senator Gore pointed out that the President did not reveal a change in war policy tonight. He discussed only tactics- a partial bombing halt.

Questions:

1.      What does President Johnson mean by partisanship?
2.      Why does he think there is division in the American house?
3.      What did the President say was the ultimate strength of our country?
4.      In your opinion, why do you think Johnson referenced a quote by former President Roosevelt?
5.      Which former president used the phrase a house divided against itself in their public address?
6.      Why did President Johnson decide not to run for reelection?

LBJ

Image Source: Envisioningtheamericandream.com

Student Unrest Spreads to South Africa (August 15-23, 1968)

South Africa

Capetown Students Sit in Over Bar to a Sociologist (August 15, 1968)

Students protest against the rescinding of Professor Mafeje’s appointment as a senior lecturer at the University of Capetown.

About 300 students singing “We Shall Overcome” entered the Capetown University administration building today to stage a sit-in. Student leaders said they intended to remain until the University Council also protested against the barring of Archie Mafeje, an African sociologist, from joining the lecturing staff by central education authorities. The education officials have said his appointment would contravene tradition. He had been the favored candidate for the vacant position. The students also want August 20 to be declared Mafeje Day as an annual protest against Government interference with university autonomy.

Vorster Bars March by Students in Johannesburg (August 19, 1968)

Prime Minister Balthazar J. Vorster forbade a student march through Johannesburg today in a firm move against mounting student protest over South African apartheid laws. But students massed outside the gates of Witwatersrand University near of the of the city in a defiant demonstration against the government’s veto of the appointment of Archie Mafeje, an African, to the staff of Capetown University.

Vorster Agrees to Meet Students (August 20, 1968)

Prime Minister Balthazar J. Vorster promised today to meet dissident students in 10 days to hear their complaints of too much Government interference in South African universities. The promise came as the student revolt over a Government veto on the appointment of an African anthropologist, Archie Mafeje, to a lecturing post at Capetown University entered its seventh day. A group of Witwatersrand students drove 30 limes to Mr. Vorster’s residence in Pretoria last night to present a Petition – and returned with their heads shaved by rival demonstrators. A student leader, Neville Curtiss, said Mr. Vorster had refused to accept the petition. Then, he said, Afrikaner students from Pretoria University seized the protesting group and shaved their heads.

Students in Capetown End a Nine-Day Sit-In (August 23, 1968)

Students of the University of Capetown ended a sit-in protesting Apartheid and Government interference in academic affairs today. They had spent nine days in the university’s administration building. The students, numbering about 100, successfully resisted an attempt by other students to evict them last night.

Questions:

  1. Why were South African students in Capetown protesting?
  2. What happened when they tried to present petitions to Prime Minister Vorster?
  3. Archie Mafeje was never appointed to the University. Why were his appointment to the university position and student protests seen as a challenge to Apartheid in South Africa?

Hundreds of Protesters Block Traffic in Chicago (August 26, 1968)

Chicago

Anti-War and Anti-Humphrey Groups Clash With Police After Ouster From Park

Hundreds of antiwar and anti-Humphrey demonstrators, driven out of a park on the shores of Lake Michigan here last night staged a series of hit-and-run protests today that blocked traffic and triggered angry shoving matches with heavily armed police. One group of youths, numbering several hundred, congregated in a circle just outside Lincoln Park, which is on the edge of one of the city’s plushest Near North Side neighborhoods, and confronted the police. Several thousands of the youths had gathered in Lincoln Park earlier in the first show of strength by the young demonstrators who have been drawn here by the Democratic National Convention. The youths had been ordered out of the park at 11 P.M. because of the curfew. Soon after the youngsters left the park, a large group congregated in the area of Clark Street and LaSalle Street, which is just southwest of Lincoln Park. Some 400 policemen pursued the group into the maze of traffic circles, drives and islands that dot the area. Tempers flared as the police sought to disperse the crowd, which was almost entirely white. At one point, a group of policemen charged into a mass of youngsters and about 20 were struck with nightsticks. The incident occurred after a bottle had arched out of the crowd and smashed on the ground near a policeman.

Questions:

  1. What happened when protesters were driven out of Lincoln Park?
  2. In your opinion, why did protests at the Democratic National Convention turn violent?
  3. Do you blame the protestors or the police for what happened? Why?

Student Protests in Mexico Draw Military Response (September-October, 1968)

Mexico Protests

Background: As Mexico prepared to host the 1968 Olympics, student protests against the country’s repressive government swept through Mexico City. On October 2, ten days before the scheduled start of the Olympics, the Mexican Army opened fire on a peaceful student protest in Tlateloclo. Officials announced the death toll as four dead and 20 wounded, but historians put the actual count at between 200 and 300 dead. Thousands of other students were beaten and jailed. The New York Times reported on events as they unfolded between September 1 and October 4.

Questions:

  1. Why were the Mexican students protesting?
  2. What was the government response?
  3. In your opinion, was the government response appropriate? Explain.
  4. In your opinion, given the conflict in Mexico, should the Olympics have gone on as scheduled? Explain.

In the midst of serious student dissidence, President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz warned today that he was ready to used armed force to put down “systematic provocation” and to insure that the Olympic Games, scheduled to open here Oct. 12, will be held.

STUDENT DEFIANCE PERSISTS IN MEXICO (September 3, 1968)

President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, in a report to the nation last Sunday, remarked ruefully, “We had been provincially proud and ingenuously satisfied that, in a world of juvenile disturbances, Mexico was an untouched island” . . . What began in nonpolitical and nonideological circumstances has become the country’s main political problem, with 150,000 students involved. According to one account, the trouble started on July 23 when a student from a vocational school became angry when he found his girl being bothered by a preparatory school student. A fight started and soon several hundred students from each school became involved . . . Six days later rioting was in full swing, with students burning buses or seizing them to use as street barricades and the Government bringing in troops to supplement special groups of riot policemen known as “granaderos,: now easily the most unpopular men in Mexico. The act that most aroused the students was the use of a bazooka to blow in an 18th-century door at a preparatory school . . . Scores of students were hurt and hundreds arrested. The students charged that at least 32 of their number had been killed. The bodies were burned, they asserted, and the families of the victims threatened into silence . . . The Government apparently thought that strong repressive action would crush student unrest. Instead, the students of the National University and the National Polytechnic Institute, numbering 150,000 at the secondary, college and postgraduate levels, organized and succeeded in closing every school and faculty.

MEXICAN STUDENTS CALL NEW PROTEST (September 10, 1968) The army seized control of the National University late last night in a move to end seven weeks of student agitation. President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz thus made good his threat to use force against attacks on public order and any attempt to disrupt the Olympic Games, which are scheduled to open here Oct. 12.

STUDENTS BATTLE MEXICAN POLICE; Several Hurt on 2d Day of Clashes at Institute (September 20, 1968) 

A policeman was shot to death, scores of persons were injured and hundreds were arrested late last night and early this morning in the worst fighting since the army seized the National University Wednesday night.

3 Dead, Many Hurt in Mexico City Battle; Students Fight the Police Through the Night 3 Are Killed and Many Injured in Mexico City Battle (September 24, 1968) 

Eight of the leaders who for two months have been carrying on a strike and agitation by university and secondary school students sat around a classroom yesterday and explained to a reporter that they would do nothing to hinder the Olympic Games here Oct. 12-27.

Students Affirm Strike In Mexico; Resist Pleas to Halt Their 2-Month-Old Agitation (September 27, 1968) (September 30, 1968)

Federal troops ended their occupation of the National University today as both the Government and striking students continued efforts to reduce tensions in the capital. The 1,300 troops and 25 tanks, which had occupied the university since Sept. 18, rumbled out of the embattled campus on the outskirts of the city in 10 minutes. Soon after, the students moved back in.

Mexican Troops Evacuate Campus of National University

Striking university and secondary school students tonight denounced an effort to get them back to their classrooms and halt their two-month-old agitation.

On an Embattled Campus, 8 Mexican Student Leaders Stress Moderate Aims (September 26, 1968)

An all-night battle between the police and students that ended late this morning brought death to at least three persons and possibly to 15.

 HUNDREDS SEIZED IN MEXICO CLASHES; One Killed and Dozens Hurt During a Night of Fighting by Students and Police Students and Police Clash Throughout Mexico City (September 22, 1968)

Fighting between the police and students continued for the second day in the aftermath of the army’s seizure of the National University Wednesday night.

Mexican Army Seizes National University to End Agitation by Students (September 19, 1968)

Despite urgings by the rector of the National University for a return to normal operations, striking students called today for a new mass street demonstration Friday.

Students’ Strike Embarrasses Mexico (September 8, 1968)

An effort by President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz to settle almost six weeks of agitation by university and secondary school students has failed. As defiant as ever, student strike leaders said at a news conference last night that they would use “all means within our reach to obtain solutions to our demands.” The students are demanding the dismissal of the Mexico City police chief, Luis Cueto, and his assistant; respect for university autonomy; compensation for those hurt or killed in fighting last month; a fill investigation of those responsible for “brutality” against them; freedom for all persons they describe as political prisoners, and abolition of sections of the penal code that provide punishment for subversive acts and those inimical to public order.

 Diaz Warns Dissident Mexican Students Against Provocation (September 1, 1968)

In the midst of serious student dissidence, President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz warned today that he was ready to used armed force to put down “systematic provocation” and to insure that the Olympic Games, scheduled to open here Oct. 12, will be held.

 STUDENT DEFIANCE PERSISTS IN MEXICO (September 3, 1968)

An effort by President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz to settle almost six weeks of agitation by university and secondary school students has failed. As defiant as ever, student strike leaders said at a news conference last night that they would use “all means within our reach to obtain solutions to our demands.” The students are demanding the dismissal of the Mexico City police chief, Luis Cueto, and his assistant; respect for university autonomy; compensation for those hurt or killed in fighting last month; a fill investigation of those responsible for “brutality” against them; freedom for all persons they describe as political prisoners, and abolition of sections of the penal code that provide punishment for subversive acts and those inimical to public order.

Students’ Strike Embarrasses Mexico (September 8, 1968)

President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, in a report to the nation last Sunday, remarked ruefully, “We had been provincially proud and ingenuously satisfied that, in a world of juvenile disturbances, Mexico was an untouched island” . . . What began in nonpolitical and nonideological circumstances has become the country’s main political problem, with 150,000 students involved. According to one account, the trouble started on July 23 when a student from a vocational school became angry when he found his girl being bothered by a preparatory school student. A fight started and soon several hundred students from each school became involved . . . Six days later rioting was in full swing, with students burning buses or seizing them to use as street barricades and the Government bringing in troops to supplement special groups of riot policemen known as “granaderos,: now easily the most unpopular men in Mexico. The act that most aroused the students was the use of a bazooka to blow in an 18th-century door at a preparatory school . . . Scores of students were hurt and hundreds arrested. The students charged that at least 32 of their number had been killed. The bodies were burned, they asserted, and the families of the victims threatened into silence . . . The Government apparently thought that strong repressive action would crush student unrest. Instead, the students of the National University and the National Polytechnic Institute, numbering 150,000 at the secondary, college and postgraduate levels, organized and succeeded in closing every school and faculty.

MEXICAN STUDENTS CALL NEW PROTEST (September 10, 1968)

Despite urgings by the rector of the National University for a return to normal operations, striking students called today for a new mass street demonstration Friday.

Mexican Army Seizes National University to End Agitation by Students (September 19, 1968)

The army seized control of the National University late last night in a move to end seven weeks of student agitation. President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz thus made good his threat to use force against attacks on public order and any attempt to disrupt the Olympic Games, which are scheduled to open here Oct. 12.

STUDENTS BATTLE MEXICAN POLICE; Several Hurt on 2d Day of Clashes at Institute (September 20, 1968)

Fighting between the police and students continued for the second day in the aftermath of the army’s seizure of the National University Wednesday night.

 HUNDREDS SEIZED IN MEXICO CLASHES; One Killed and Dozens Hurt During a Night of Fighting by Students and Police Students and Police Clash Throughout Mexico City (September 22, 1968)

A policeman was shot to death, scores of persons were injured and hundreds were arrested late last night and early this morning in the worst fighting since the army seized the National University Wednesday night.

 3 Dead, Many Hurt in Mexico City Battle; Students Fight the Police Through the Night 3 Are Killed and Many Injured in Mexico City Battle (September 24, 1968)

An all-night battle between the police and students that ended late this morning brought death to at least three persons and possibly to 15.

On an Embattled Campus, 8 Mexican Student Leaders Stress Moderate Aims (September 26, 1968)

Eight of the leaders who for two months have been carrying on a strike and agitation by university and secondary school students sat around a classroom yesterday and explained to a reporter that they would do nothing to hinder the Olympic Games here Oct. 12-27.

Students Affirm Strike In Mexico; Resist Pleas to Halt Their 2-Month-Old Agitation (September 27, 1968)

Striking university and secondary school students tonight denounced an effort to get them back to their classrooms and halt their two-month-old agitation.

Mexican Troops Evacuate Campus of National University (September 30, 1968)

Federal troops ended their occupation of the National University today as both the Government and striking students continued efforts to reduce tensions in the capital. The 1,300 troops and 25 tanks, which had occupied the university since Sept. 18, rumbled out of the embattled campus on the outskirts of the city in 10 minutes. Soon after, the students moved back in.

At Least 20 Dead As Mexico Strife Reaches A Peak; Troops Fire Machine Guns And Rifles At Students — More Than 100 Hurt Many Are Killed In Mexico Clash (October 2, 1968)

Mexico Protests 2

Federal troops fired on a student rally with rifles and machine guns tonight, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 100. The troops moved on a rally of 3,000 people in the square of a vast housing project just as night was falling. In an inferno of firing that lasted an hour, the army strafed the area with machine guns mounted on jeeps and tanks. About 1,000 troops took part in the action. Tanks, armored cars and jeeps followed them, spurting .30- and .50-caliber machine-gun fire. Buses, trolley cars and other vehicles were set on fire at several places in the city. Ambulances screamed through the rainy night. Many women and children were among the dead and injured.

Mexican Student Protest Appears to Be Crushed (October 4, 1968)

The long and occasionally violent student protest here appeared today to be smashed as a mass movement following the gun battle in which at least 29 persons lost their lives Wednesday night . . . Those students who could be reached on the university campus, once the major focal point of the agitation, called the clash with army troops “a massacre” and said further demonstrations would be “suicide.”

Emerging Women’s Liberation Movement (September 7, 1968)

The first National Women’s Liberation Conference was held in Sandy Springs, Maryland issued a flyer that announced “Out of our bitch sessions came the idea for the Miss America Protest. All the New York groups joined together for this action and women from Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Florida participated. We crowned a live sheep Miss America, held an action of an All-American Girl replica, threw objects of our torture into the freedom trash can, picketed, and talked to women spectators. At night, we hung a Women’s Liberation banner from the balcony and shouted ‘Freedom for women – No more Miss America’ until the cops forced us out.” The feminists traveled to Atlantic City and on September 7, 1968 and hundreds gathered on the Atlantic City Boardwalk outside the Miss America Pageant where they symbolically threw a number of feminine products, including bras, curlers, girdles, and corsets and copies of Cosmopolitan and Playboy magazines into a “Freedom Trash Can.”

Yale University Fredom Can

Miss America Pageant Is Picketed by 100 Women (September 7, 1968)

Women armed with a giant bathing beauty puppet and a “freedom trash can” in which they threw girdles, bras, hair curlers, false eyelashes, and anything else that smacked of “enslavement,” picketed the Miss America Pageant here today. The women pickets marched around the Boardwalk outside Convention Hall, singing anti-Miss America songs in three-part harmony, carrying posters deploring “the degrading mindless-boob-girlie symbol,” and insisting that the only “free” woman is “the woman who is no longer enslaved by ludicrous beauty standards.” They also denounce the beauty contest’s “racism,” since its inception in 1921, the pageant has never had a black finalist), announced a boycott of the sponsors (Pepsi-Cola, Toni and Oldsmobile) and refused to talk with males (including male reporters). “Why should we talk with them?” said Marion Davison, a New Yorker. “It’s impossible for men to understand.”

 Questions:

  1. Why did the women target the Miss America Pageant?
  2. In your opinion, why did some of the women protesters believe “It is impossible for men to understand”?
  3. In your opinion, how have attitudes toward women changed, or remained the same, since 1968?

New “Troubles” Begin in Northern Ireland (October 7, 1968)

Background: In 1921, following the Irish war for independence from Great Britain, Britain separated off six predominately Protestant northern provinces from the newly established Irish Free State. Catholic in the area long charged they were subject to discrimination and many wanted to be reunited with the rest of Ireland. The October 1968 demonstrations opened a decades long era known as the “Troubles” that resulting in over 3,600 deaths and thousands of injuries. While there have been periods of peace, many of the issues raised in 1968 have still not been resolved.

Northern Ireland

Rioting Reopens Old Wounds in Northern Ireland (October 7, 1968)

Old antagonisms between Northern Ireland’s Protestants and Roman Catholics have erupted in the worst violence seen since the nineteen-twenties in Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s second largest city. The riots, on Saturday afternoon and Sunday night, are acknowledged by all sides as a setback for the moderate program of Prime Minister Terence M. O’Neill. Mr. O’Neill has sought Protestant-catholic cooperation to erase the ancient religious scares that still blemish the life of the country . . . About 100 people, including Gerard Fitt, a Catholic Republican member of the British Parliament were treated at hospitals for injuries after the Londonderry skirmishes between police and a Catholic civil rights group. Twenty-nine persons were arrested. In the weekend battles, the Royal Ulster constabulary used batons and water cannon against demonstrators. The marchers accused the police of brutality. The demonstrators threw gasoline bombs, stoned police and burned two constabulary huts. They smashed shop windows in the center of Londonderry and looted a few stores . . . The demonstration arose after Mr. Craig [Northern Ireland’s minister of Home Affairs] had refused permission for the Irish Civil Rights Association to parade through Protestant areas to protest against discrimination in housing and voting.

BELFAST ENDORSES POLICE RIOT ACTIONS (October 8, 1968)

The Northern Ireland Cabinet today endorsed the action of the police in the weekend riots in Londonderry. The Cabinet said that the action had been “timely and prevented an extremely dangerous situation from developing.”

 BELFAST CATHOLICS STAGE A HUGE SIT-IN (Oct 9, 1968)

About 1,500 Roman Catholic students staged a mammoth sit-in today within sight of angry Protestants, but police averted further violence in Northern Ireland’s religious unrest. The students from Queens University were protesting alleged police brutality in last weekend’s Londonderry riots and what they describe as discrimination against Northern Ireland’s Roman Catholic minority. Police persuaded the Catholics to avoid a clash with Protestants by changing the route of their protest march before the sit-in. The Rev. Ian Paisley, leader of the Protestants who threatened to disrupt the Catholic march, then accused Prime Minister Terence O’Neill of being soft on Catholic factions who want Northern Ireland removed from the United Kingdom and joined with the Irish Republic to the south.

Questions:

  1. What events in Londonderry “reopened” old wounds?
  2. Who did the government of Northern Ireland blame for the events?
  3. In your opinion, how do the accusations made by Reverend Paisley point to an underlying issue in Northern Ireland?

2 Accept Medals Wearing Black Gloves (October 16, 1968)

Olympic Protest

Tommie Smith wore a black glove on his right hand tonight to receive his gold medal for winning the final of the Olympic 200-meter dash on the world-record time of 19.8 seconds. John Carlos, his American teammate, received the third-place bronze medal wearing a black glove on his left hand. Both appeared for the presentation ceremony wearing black stockings and carrying white-soled track shoes. The two had said they would make a token gesture here to protest racial discrimination in the United States. While the “Star Spangled banner” was played, these most militant black members of the United States track and field squad bowed their heads and raised their black-gloved hands high.

 U.S. Leaders Warn of Penalties For Further Black Power Acts (October 17, 1968)

The United States Olympic Committee formally apologized today to the International Olympic Committee and the Mexican Organizing Committee for what it called the discourtesy displayed by two of its athletes in an Olympic victory ceremony yesterday. The United States committee also warned it would not stand for a repetition of a display made by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, sprinters.

 2 Black Power Advocates Ousted From Olympics; U.S. Team Drops Smith and Carlos for Clenched-Fist Display on Victory Stand (October 18, 1968)

The United States Olympic Committee suspended Tommie Smith and John Carlos today for having used last Wednesday’s victory ceremony for the 200-meter dash at the Olympic Games as the vehicle for a black power demonstration. The two Negro sprinters were told by Douglas F. Roby, the president of the committee, that they must leave the Olympic Village. Their credentials were taken away, which made it mandatory for them to leave Mexico within 48 hours.

U.S. Women Dedicate Victory to Smith, Carlos (October 20, 1968)

Black Power emerged among women athletes today as four United States girls dedicated their victory in the 400-meter relay to Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the two Americans who were suspended and ordered to leave Olympic Village.

Questions:

  1. Why did Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their hands in protest?
  2. What was the response of the American Olympic Committee?
  3. In your opinion, are these types of protests by athletes at sporting events legitimate? Explain.

Nine Found Guilty In Draft File Case (October 11, 1968)

 Background: On May 17, 1968 nine Catholic activists entered Selective Service Office in Catonsville, Maryland. They seized hundreds of draft records and brought them outside, where they were doused with homemade napalm. The Catonsville Nine stated they used napalm on these draft records because napalm has burned people to death in Vietnam. They were arrested and in total, their actions took less than fifteen minutes. Their motive was because everything has has failed.

Seven men and two women were found guilty in Federal Court today of burning draft files with homemade napalm. The jury rendered its verdict against the group, which included two priests at 6:37pm after deliberating [for] an hour and half. The other defendants, also Roman Catholics, included a Christian brother, a former priest and a former nun.

As others rose to their feet in disorder, Chief Judge Roszel C. Thomsen called for order in the courtroom. When he did not get it, he asked Frank Udoff, a United States marshal, to clear the room. The spectators, many of whom were in tears, reached the hall and they began to sing We Shall Overcome.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of 18 years in prison and fines up to $22,000 each. On the fourth day of the trial, the jury was excused and the nine defendants rose to their feet. One after the other they repeated the points that had been made throughout the trial. They said, in effect, that they should not be judged on the acts they had committed but on their motives in committing them. These were to bring to the attention of the people of the United States what they called Government’s immoral activities in Vietnam and Latin America.

The judge answered formally at first that these were not the issues in the case. He replied: To me as a man, I would be a funny sort of person if I were not moved by your views. I have not attempted to cut your discussion short. I frankly say that I am as anxious to terminate the war as the average man, even more, maybe. But people can’t take the law into their own hands.

Questions:

  1. Who were the Catonsville Nine?
  2. Why did they protest in this way?
  3. What was the verdict in the trial of the Catonsville Nine?

Nixon Wins By A Thin Margin, Pleads for Reunited Nation (November 5, 1968)

Richard Milhous Nixon emerged the victor yesterday in one of the closest and most tumultuous Presidential campaigns in history and set himself the task of reuniting the nation. Elected over Hubert H. Humphrey by the barest of margins – only four one-hundredths of a percentage point in the popular vote –and confronted by a Congress in control of the Democrats, the President-elect said it “will be the great objective of this Administration at the outset to bring the American people together.” He pledged, as the 37th President, to form “an open Administration, open to new ideas, open to men and women of both parties, open to critics as well as those who support us” so as to bridge the gap between the generations and the races. Mr. Nixon and his closest aides were not yet prepared to suggest how they intended to approach these objectives. The Republican victor expressed admiration for his opponent’s challenge and reiterated his desire to help President Johnson achieve peace in Vietnam between now and Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

 Questions:

  1. How does the New York Times describe the 1968 Presidential election?
  2. What evidence is there that the nation is very divided?
  3. In your opinion, why was there a giant “gap” between the generations and races at the time Nixon was elected as the 37th President of the U.S.?

Airplane Hijackers from the United States to Cuba

Background: The term “hijacking” goes back to prohibition days, when gangsters would rob moonshine trucks saying, “Hold your hands high, Jack!” However, in the early days of commercial air travel, the idea that someone would hijack a plane was scarcely even considered. It all changed in the 1960s, when stories about hijacked planes hit the newsstands every week. When the government started to oversee aviation in 1958, hijacking wasn’t technically a crime and the early design of airport terminals reflected this. Airports were once more like train stations, where you walk through the terminal and onto the tarmac, and sometimes straight onto the plane itself, without flashing a ticket or showing anyone your identification. Eleven airplane hijackings occurred before and after the Cuban Revolution starting in1958 and ending in 1959. A second wave started in May 1961 when Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, a Cuban-American electrician from Miami hijacked a plane by holding a steak knife to the pilot’s throat. He claimed that Rafael Trujillo, the long-ruling dictator of the Dominican Republic, had offered him $100,000 to assassinate Fidel Castro and he wanted to go to Havana to warn Castro. Airplane hijackings from the United States to Cuba were act their highest point from 1968 to 1972. There were at least 24 documented airplane hijacking from the United States to Cuba in 1968 alone. The trend declined after Cuba made hijacking a crime in 1970, the introduction of metal detectors in U.S. airports in 1973, and a joint agreement was reached between the U.S. and Cuba to return or prosecute hijackers.

26 Hijack Victims Return To Miami After Day in Cuba (December 4, 1968)

The 26 victims of the latest airline hijacking returned from Cuba tonight to report that the communist authorities treated them well and put them up in a honeymoon hotel. The passengers, forced to remain in Cuba when their National Airlines jet returned with its crew last night, arrived in Miami almost 24 hours behind schedule. They had to wait all day today while the “freedom airlift” ferried its daily quota of two planeloads of Cubans to the United States.

Decades Later, Guilty Plea in a 1968 Airline Hijacking (March 18, 2010)

On Nov. 24, 1968, Luis Armando Peña Soltren boarded a plane to Puerto Rico at Kennedy Airport. Two hours into the flight, he grabbed a flight attendant and held the blade of a pocketknife to her neck. “I told her it was a hijacking,” Mr. Soltren said through an interpreter in federal court on Thursday. “And to open the door to the cabin.” With two armed accomplices, Mr. Soltren, then 25, ordered the pilot to land in Havana, where he would spend the next 40 years avoiding prosecution. He built a new life: he married twice and had four daughters. But as his children grew, he longed for them to leave the island. He spent years trying to secure American passports for them. Eventually, his children left Cuba, and his second wife followed suit. All that was left to keep him company was the legacy of his crime. So it was that a gray-haired Mr. Soltren, 67, found himself in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday, wearing navy blue prison slacks, taking out his glasses to read through court documents. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit air piracy, interfering with flight crew members and kidnapping. He could face life in prison when he is sentenced on June 29.

3 ASTRONAUTS SPEED TOWARD MOON ORBIT AS APOLLO LEAVES THE EARTH AT 24,200 M.P.H.; FLAWLESS LIFTOFF

Craft Is Headed for a Lunar Rendezvous on Christmas Eve 3 Apollo 8 Astronauts Speed Toward Moon on True Course for Orbital Rendezvous

FLAWLESS LIFTOFF STARTS LUNAR TRIP

Borman, Lovell and Anders Soar Aloft on Most Distant Voyage Taken by Man (December 21, 1968)

 

1968 – The Year that Changed History

1968 – The Year that Changed History

This curriculum package was developed by students in the Hofstra University teacher education program including Tina Abbatiello, Arwa Alhumaidan, Ashley Balgobind, Megan Bernth, Carrie Hou, Nabila Khan, Alyssa Knipfing, Thomas Masterson, Olivia LaRocca, Kyle Novak, Marc Nuccio, Steven Rosino, Jackson Spear, and Mark Vasco.

 In January 2008, The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/observer/gallery/ 2008/jan/17/1), described 1968 as “the year that changed history.” A photo essay began: “It was a year of seismic social and political change across the globe. From the burgeoning anti-Vietnam war and civil rights movements in the United States, protests and revolutions in Europe and the first comprehensive coverage of war and resultant famine in Africa. The world would never be the same again.”

Events that Shook the United States and the World

In January, North Korea seized the USS Pueblo claiming the ship violated its territorial waters and the Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive including an attack on the U.S. embassy in Saigon. begins, as Viet Cong forces launch a series of surprise attacks across South Vietnam. In February, the world was shocked by a photograph of South Vietnamese police official murdering a captured Viet Cong soldier and President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, the Kerner Commission, warned that racism was causing America to move “toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” In March, student protests sparked a political crisis in Soviet-dominated Poland; American soldiers massacred civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai Massacre; student at Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, D.C., held a 5-day sit-in protesting against the War in Vietnam and demanding that the university end its ROTC program and offer more courses on the Black experience; and after a disappointing showing in the New Hampshire primary, Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not seek re-election. In April the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee leading to riots across the country; and student protesters occupied buildings and shut down Columbia University. In May, one million students marched through the streets of Paris demanding fundamental reform; the Catonsville Nine destroyed selective service draft records in a protest against the Vietnam War. In June U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was murdered in Los Angeles and photographs of starving children and evidence of a humanitarian crisis in rebel Biafra during the Nigerian civil war became public. In July, following a coup d’état, Saddam Hussein became Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq. In August the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida nominated Richard Nixon for President; 750,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 6,500 tanks with 800planes invaded Czechoslovakia crushing reform efforts; and Chicago police went on a rampage attacking anti-war protesters at the Democratic National Convention. In September, New York City teachers went on strike against community control of schools in a strike that continued off and on for months and contributed to racial tension in the country; 150 women protested in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the Miss America Pageant. In October, Mexican police and soldiers massacred hundreds of student protesters in Mexico City prior to the opening of the Summer Olympics; at the Olympics American track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their arms in a black power salute on the victor’s podium; and police attacked civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland, leading to period that became known as The Troubles. In November, Richard Nixon (Republican) defeated Hubert Humphrey (Democrat), and George Wallace (American Independent); Yale University announced would admit women; and the first National Women’s Liberation Conference was held. In December, Apollo 8 orbited the Moon.

North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo (January 23, 1968)

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/19/opinion/remember-the-pueblo.html

USS PuebloThe USS Pueblo on display in the North Korean capital city of Pyongyang in 2006. It was captured in North Korean territorial waters on January 23, 1968.

New York Times: “Moored on a river here in the North Korean capital is the U.S.S. Pueblo, described as an “armed spy ship of the U.S. imperialist aggression forces.” The Pueblo is the Navy ship that North Korea seized in 1968 in waters off the country’s east coast, setting off an international crisis. One American sailor was killed and 82 others were imprisoned for nearly a year and tortured into writing confessions. To signal that the confessions were forced, the sailors listed accomplices like the television character Maxwell Smart. When forced to pose for a photo, some crew members extended their middle fingers to the camera, explaining to the North Korean photographer that this was a Hawaiian good luck sign. After the photo was published and the North Korean guards realized they’d been had, the sailors suffered a week of particularly brutal torture.

USS Pueblo sailors

As the first Navy vessel to surrender in peacetime since 1807, the Pueblo was a humiliation for America. And it has become a propaganda trophy for North Korea, with ordinary Koreans paraded through in organized tours to fire up nationalist support for the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il.”

Questions

1. What is the USS Pueblo?

2. Why did it become a symbol of the Cold War?

3. Why did captured U.S. sailors pose this way?

4. In your opinion, why does the Korean peninsula remain a source of international tension?

Kerner Commission Report (February 29, 1968)

“The summer of 1967 again brought racial disorders to American cities, and with them shock, fear and bewilderment to the nation. The worst came during a two-week period in July, first in Newark and then in Detroit. Each set off a chain reaction in neighboring communities. On July 28, 1967, the President of the United States established this Commission and directed us to answer three basic questions: What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again?

To respond to these questions, we have undertaken a broad range of studies and investigations. We have visited the riot cities; we have heard many witnesses; we have sought the counsel of experts across the country. This is our basic conclusion: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal. Reaction to last summer’s disorders has quickened the movement and deepened the division. Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life; they now threaten the future of every American. This deepening racial division is not inevitable. The movement apart can be reversed. Choice is still possible.

Our principal task is to define that choice and to press for a national resolution. To pursue our present course will involve the continuing polarization (division) of the American community and, ultimately, the destruction of basic democratic values. The alternative is not blind repression or capitulation (surrender) to lawlessness. It is the realization of common opportunities for all within a single society. This alternative will require a commitment to national action—compassionate, massive and sustained, backed by the resources of the most powerful and the richest nation on this earth. From every American it will require new attitudes, new understanding, and, above all, new will. The vital needs of the nation must be met; hard choices must be made, and, if necessary, new taxes enacted. Violence cannot build a better society. Disruption and disorder nourish repression, not justice. They strike at the freedom of every citizen. The community cannot—it will not—tolerate coercion and mob rule. Violence and destruction must be ended—in the streets of the ghetto and in the lives of people. Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans. What white Americans have never fully understood—but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain, and white society condones (allows) it.

It is time now to turn with all the purpose at our command to the major unfinished business of this nation. It is time to adopt strategies for action that will produce quick and visible progress. It is time to make good the promises of American democracy to all citizens—urban and rural, white and black, Spanish-surname, American Indian, and every minority group. Our recommendations embrace three basic principles: To mount programs on a scale equal to the dimension of the problems; To aim these programs for high impact in the immediate future in order to close the gap between promise and performance; To undertake new initiatives and experiments that can change the system of failure and frustration that now dominates the ghetto and weakens our society. These programs will require unprecedented levels of funding and performance, but they neither probe deeper nor demand more than the problems which called them forth. There can be no higher priority for national action and no higher claim on the nation’s conscience . . .”

 Questions

  1. Why was the Kerner Commission established?
  2. Why were there so many urban riots?
  3. What did the Committee fear would happen if the riots continued?
  4. According to the report, what are two ways to help resolve America’s racial divide?
  5. In your opinion, has the United States achieved the objectives of the Kerner commission? Explain.

Tet Offensive (January – February 1968)

Excerpt from North Vietnamese General Tran Van Tra’s Comments on Tet ‘68.”

“Prior to the arrival of the U.S. troops, if the balance of forces between ourselves and the enemy had been viewed simply in terms of specific, material forces, who would have thought that we were strong and were capable of annihilating the puppet army and overthrowing the puppet regime? Later, when the United States sent in at the same time about 200,000 troops who had modern equipment and relied on the strength of overwhelming firepower and rapid mobility, to carry out a strategic counter offensive during the 1965-1966 dry season, we concluded that the Americans and puppets were not strong but were passive, and continued to press the strategic offensive, launched the Bau Bang-Dau Tieng offensive campaign, gained the initiative on the battlefield, and won many victories. In 1968, when the U.S. troops numbered nearly 500,000, with all kinds of modern weapons except the atomic bomb and with the purchasing of the services of lackey vassal troops in addition to Thieu’s army, we could clearly see the enemy’s weakness and our strength, and exploited that strength to a high degree in carrying out the general offense and uprising of Tet Mau Than, a unique event in the history of war. During Tet we not only attacked the enemy simultaneously in all urban centers, including the U.S. war headquarters in Saigon, the puppet capital, but also defeated the U.S. limited war strategy and forced the United States to deescalate the war, being peace talks in Paris, and adopt the strategy of “de-Americanizing the war” and then “Vietnamizing the war.” We thus smashed the U.S. imperialists’ strategic global “flexible response” strategy. The international gendarme became terrified of the role it had taken for itself; and the illusion of the “absolute military superiority of the United States” was shattered.

However, during Tet of 1968 we did not correctly evaluate the specific balance of forces between ourselves and the enemy, did not fully realize that the enemy still had considerable capabilities and that our capabilities were limited, and set requirements that were beyond our actual strength. In other words, we did not base ourselves on scientific calculation or a careful weighing of all factors, but in past on an illusion based on our subjective desires. For that reason, although that decision was wise, ingenious, and timely, and although its implementation was well organized and bold, there was excellent coordination on all battlefields, everyone acted bravely, sacrificed their lives, and there was created a significant strategic turning point in Vietnam and Indochina, we suffered large sacrifices and losses with regard to manpower and materiel, especially cadres at the various echelons, which clearly weakened us. Afterwards, we were not only unable to retain the gains we had made but had to overcome a myriad of difficulties in 1969 and 1970 so that the revolution could stand firm in the storm. Although it is true that the revolutionary path is never a primrose path that always goes upward, and there can never be a victory without sacrifice, in the case of Tet 1968, if we had weighed and considered things meticulously, taken in to consideration the balance of forces of the two sides and set forth correct requirements, out victory would have been even greater, less blood would have been spilled by the cadres, enlisted men, and people, and the future development of the revolution would certainly have been far different. In 1972, after a period of endeavoring to overcome many difficulties make up for the recent losses and develop our position and strength with an absolute revolutionary spirit on the part of the soldiers and people, our troops participated in winning victories in Kampuchea and Laos. However, not all of our main-force units could return to South Vietnam. In that situation we correctly evaluated the positions and forces of the two sides, destroyed many fortified defense lines of the enemy in Quang Tri, the Central Highlands, and eastern Nam Bo, and created many integrated liberated areas at Dong Ha, Dac To, Tan Canh, Loc Ninh Bu Dop, and northern Tay Ninh then, in coordination with the great “Dien Bien Phu in the air” victory in the North, attained our goal of smashing the American’s scheme of negotiating from a position of strength, and forced the Americans to sign in Paris, agreements, which benefited us.”

Questions

  1. According to General Tran Van Tra, what advantage did the U.S. military had in the initial conflict?
  2. What was the Tet Offensive?
  3. According to General Tran Van Tra, what was the result of the Tet Offensive?
  4. Why did General Tran Van Tra say, “the illusion of the ‘absolute military superiority of the United States’ was shattered”?

Saigon execution Murder of a Vietcong by Saigon Police Chief, 1968

South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the national police, shoots Vietcong officer Nguyen Van Lem, also known as Bay Lop, on a Saigon street on Feb. 1, 1968.

 Background: After Nguyen Ngoc Loan raised his sidearm and shot Vietcong operative Nguyen Van Lem in the head he walked over to the reporters and told them that: “These guys kill a lot of our people, and I think Buddha will forgive me.” Captured on NBC TV cameras and by AP photographer Eddie Adams, the picture and film footage flashed around the world and quickly became a symbol of the Vietnam War’s brutality. Eddie Adams’ picture was especially striking, as the moment frozen is one almost at the instant of death. Taken a split second after the trigger was pulled, Lem’s final expression is one of pain as the bullet rips through his head. A closer look of the photo actually reveals the bullet exiting his skull.

Howard University

Howard University Dispute Settled After Four-Day Protest (March 19, 1968)

The four-day student protest at Howard University ended Saturday afternoon in what protest leader Ewart Brown described as “an atmosphere of fatigue and victory.” The protest, which involved over two thousand students in a massive Administration building sit-in, ended after three days of round-the-clock negotiations between the protest steering committee and Administration officials. The sit-in was brought to a close when Administration officials granted two of the four steering committee demands and promised “immediate negotiations to resolve other problems.”

Howard officials agreed to create a student judiciary committee to review charges against 37 students for disrupting a University program on March 1st. The Administration declared “unnegotiable” the student demand for the resignation of Howard President James Nabrit. They also said that the students’ fourth demand for curriculum changes “will require further discussion.”

Kenneth Clark, prominent Negro psychologist and Howard trustee, read the agreement at 2 p.m. on the steps of the Administration Building before a noticeably tired group of 2500 students. “Any interpretation as to winning or losing by either side misses the whole point,” Dr. Clark said. “We are very happy this was resolved without bringing law enforcement officers on the campus.” However, both protest leaders and the student body as a whole regarded the settlement, in Brown’s words: “(As a) victory for black students not only at Howard but at every black college.”

As 1000 students filed out of the administration building Saturday afternoon carrying blankets and suitcases, conversation centered around today’s return of Howard President James Nabrit. The resignation of Nabrit became the chief student demand as sentiment swelled during the protest. Students claimed that Nabrit spent too much time away from the campus and neglected the “problems and issues raised by the student body.”

Questions

  1. What method(s) did the Howard students use to protest?
  2. How long did their protest last?
  3. What was the student protesters’ chief demand?
  4. Why do you think the protesters considered the protest, “a victory for black students not only at Howard but at every black college?”

 Echoes of a New York Waterloo – New York City Teachers Strike (September-November, 1968)

NYC Teacher Strike

A. For American cities and education, it seemed the worst of times. Pickets and the police ringed schools as onetime allies in the civil rights struggle shrieked accusations of racism and anti-Semitism at each other. The 1968 battle over school decentralization in an obscure Brooklyn district called Ocean Hill-Brownsville ripped apart New York City as nothing has before or since. Its impact on the city and beyond is hard to overstate. It played an early role in the deterioration of relations between blacks and Jews. New York liberals, previously rock-solid in their advocacy of social causes, were split into warring camps. Albert Shanker rose in stature from local union chief to hero to some and anti-hero to others, becoming a national educational leader and household name who even made his way into a Woody Allen movie.

B. And far from being a catharsis to cleanse New York City education of its poisons, Ocean Hill-Brownsville came to stand as a symbol of hifalutin good intentions gone awry — an effort to transfer power from a hidebound bureaucracy back to the people that turned into a political and educational disaster. “The New York teacher’s strike of 1968 seems to me the worst disaster my native city has experienced in my lifetime,’” Martin Mayer wrote soon after the events in a book chronicling the fight.

C. Mr. Shanker was one of the central figures in a fight with few if any heroes — a tough teachers’ union leader who shut down city schools in three bitter strikes, enraging black advocates of local control and defying City Hall and much of the political establishment. If there was one thing virtually all the participants could agree on at the beginning, it was that schools in poor, black neighborhoods were doing a terrible job. The all-powerful central Board of Education’s very address — 110 Livingston Street — had become a synonym for a vast, entrenched bureaucracy, the target of mounting black protests.

D. Anti-Semitism surfaced when a black teacher, Leslie Campbell, read a girl’s poem that included a slur toward Jews. (The school system’s underpaid staff was 90 percent white and heavily Jewish.) The United Federation of Teachers reproduced and distributed anti-Semitic leaflets it said were  circulating in the schools. ”The whole alliance of liberals, blacks and Jews broke apart on this issue,” Mr. Shanker remembered. ”It was a turning point in that way. It was a fact in the late 1960’s that the African-American community was moving from the idea of integration toward the idea of black power, toward organizations like Rap Brown or the Black Panthers. Was it civil rights for minorities or civil rights for everybody?”

E. Later, when the state legislature met in 1969 to consider a citywide decentralization plan, the teacher’s union was in Albany in force. ”It was horrible, a very highly charged environment,” recalled Jerome Kretchmer, then a liberal Assemblyman from the Upper West Side who backed a bill originally calling for strong community control that eventually was modified to a bill acceptable to the union, including strong job protections. “The bill that passed was Shanker’s bill, not ours,” Mr. Glasser recalled. “Real decentralization threatened two major interests, the Board and its bureaucracy, which was unalterably opposed to change, and the power of the union. It was really a power struggle in which the black kids were sacrificed.” “In the end,” said Mr. McCoy, the Ocean Hill-Brownsville struggle “had nothing to do with education; it was all politics and money.”

Questions

1.      What issue caused teachers to strike?

2.      What two ethnic groups were directly affected by the conflict?

3.      What was Albert Shanker’s role in the strike?

4.      According to excerpt E, what major interests did decentralization threaten?

5.     In your opinion, what was the underlying cause of the struggle?

Yale University Decides to Admit Women (November 9, 1968)

Source: “On The Advisability And Feasibility of Women At Yale,” Yale Alumni Magazine.

  1. “Yale may admit women,” read a headline in the New York Times.”Nothing Stands in the Way But Lack of Funds.” That was in 1891. A Miss Irene W. Coit had passed the Yale College entrance exam. It was a purely academic exercise, but President Timothy Dwight was nevertheless interested in opening a “woman’s annex.” There was no question, the Timesstressed, of men and women taking classes together. In fact, men and women had been taking classes together at Yale since 1869, the year the art school opened. The graduate school began admitting women in 1892. By the late 1960s, nearly 1,000 women enrolled at Yale every year. But in 1891, “Yale” to the Times (and most of the campus) meant Yale College. And almost 80 years would elapse between Miss Coit’s successful exam and the admission of the first female undergraduates at Yale.

A. Yale started thinking seriously about college coeducation in 1966, when Yale and Vassar decided to explore “coordinate coeducation.” The idea was for Vassar, which was then a women’s college, to sell its campus and relocate its students to Prospect Hill. Vassar would become Yale’s Radcliffe. This plan for a simple add-on — a twentieth-century “woman’s annex” — had decided political attractions. President Kingman Brewster ’41 . . . lived in “fear and trembling” about how college alumni would react to coeducation if their sons couldn’t get into Yale. Yale College was more than an exclusively male school; it was a school that cultivated and cherished a particular ideal of maleness.

B. But as the alumni resisted, the students pushed . . . Undergraduates held rallies, wrote imperious opinion pieces for the News,even organized “Coeducation Week” as a kind of pilot project. Brewster himself had unwittingly set up this conflict between the alumni and the alumni-to-be, by starting to admit college applicants based more on academic performance than on Yale family connections and where they had prepped. Yale was admitting ever-larger numbers of public school students, and most of them had never experienced sex-segregated schooling, let alone thought of it as a matter of honor.

C. Then, in November 1967, Vassar’s board turned down the merger. The move left Yale with no plan and little time. All the other Ivies except Dartmouth were by now either coeducational or preparing to become so, putting Yale at a disadvantage in the competition for academically outstanding college applicants . . . On November 9, 1968, the Corporation, Yale’s board of trustees, approved Brewster’s plan to admit 250 female freshmen and 250 female transfer students to Yale College the following September. . . There were rocky patches in the first few years. The lopsided gender ratio left some women feeling isolated, some overwhelmed by excessive male attention. Facilities were overcrowded. Brewster tried to appease furious alumni with the promise that Yale College would continue to produce “a thousand male leaders” every year. But in the end, coeducation succeeded, settled in, and became the norm. In the pages that follow, we excerpt passages from publications of the time and recent interviews with participants in the transformation.

Questions

  1. According to Excerpt A, how many years lapsed between Coit’s successful exam and the admission of the first female undergraduates at Yale?
  2. According to Excerpt B, why did Yale decide to seriously considered coeducation at the college?
  3. According to Excerpt C, what was Yale admittance traditionally based upon? How did that measure change over time?
  4. In your opinion, how did resistance to the admission of women into the university exemplify the patriarchal tones of American society? Explain.

Teaching with Tunes: An Educator’s Guide to Utilizing Hamilton in the Classroom

Teaching with Tunes: An Educator’s Guide to Utilizing Hamilton in the Classroom

Juliana Kong and Heather Pollak, Drew University

The American musical Hamilton took not only the history community, but the entire world, by storm when it premiered on Broadway in 2015. One of the most popular, innovative, and significant musicals of all time, Lin Manuel Miranda’s work has been lauded lyrically and musically. His ability to modernize and popularize the history of the American Revolution and founding of our nation through the eyes of former Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, has earned him well-deserved praise and global recognition. Through contemporary music spanning multiple genres (primarily hip-hop and rap), Miranda has piqued domestic and global interest in this forgotten Founding Father, revolutionizing the way we think about early American history.

Hamilton spans from the pre-Revolutionary period all the way to Alexander Hamilton’s death in 1804, following his infamous duel with Aaron Burr. Hamilton covers the Revolutionary War, the United States’ first two presidencies, the development of political parties, and, of course, the personal drama of Mr. Alexander Hamilton. Embedded in this groundbreaking hip-hop musical are infinite opportunities for educators to increase student engagement, practice with higher order thinking skills, and develop student analysis and inquiry abilities.

Secondary Level

Farmer Refuted- Conflicting Concerns regarding British Rule in pre-Revolutionary America

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Farmer Refuted” to develop student understanding and comprehension of the conflicting perspectives and loyalties regarding the American Revolution and concept of going to war against the ruling British King.

Key Questions:

  1. In “Farmer Refuted”, who is supporting the British? What would this person be referred as?
  2. Why is this person supporting the British?
  3. Who is supporting the idea of the Revolution? What would this person be referred as?
  4. Why are these people supporting the idea of Revolution?
  5. What factors might affect people’s loyalties and why do those factors influence people’s beliefs?
  6. How is the Loyalist in “Farmer Refuted” portrayed? The Patriots?
  7. Why might have Lin Manuel Miranda decided to portray them this way?
  8. Is this a necessarily fair portrayal? Why or why not?
Materials:

 The Battle of Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)- Content Lesson

Teachers may use Hamilton (2015) song “The Battle of Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” to engage student interest in the historical content of the American Revolution and its conclusion.

Activity: With Personal Devices- Yorktown Research and Timeline

  1. Hand out a copy of “The Battle of Yorktown” lyrics to students (electronic or printed)
  2. Have the class watch The Tony Awards performance of “The Battle of Yorktown” and take note of lyrics they do NOT understand
  3. Have students independently research their noted lyrics
    1. Have student post their lyrics and summarized research on the class Padlet timeline
  4. Project class Padlet
  5. Have students rearrange their posts in (what they believe is) chronological order
  6. Summarize the Battle of Yorktown for student clarification

Materials:

Activity: No personal devices- Lyric Scavenger Hunt

  1. Hand out a printed copy of “The Battle of Yorktown” lyrics to students
  2. Have the class watch The Tony Awards performance of The Battle of Yorktown and take note of lyrics they do NOT understand
  3. Give informational lecture on the Battle of Yorktown. Have students write down/take notes when students “find” their misunderstood/mystery lyrics
  4. At the end of the lecture, ask students if anyone found the answer to their misunderstood/ mystery lyric
  5. Take student volunteers’ answers
    1. (ex. “(Lafayette) I go back to France, I bring freedom to my people if given the chance” = Marquis de Lafayette returns to France after the American Revolution to bring the principles and ideals of the Revolution to monarchist France)
  6. Ask if anyone has an unanswered lyric and clarify any information students have questions on.

Materials:

One Last Time- George Washington’s Farewell Address

Teacher can compare and compare and contrast George Washington’s original/abridged Farewell Address to the Hamilton (2015) song, “One Last Time” in order to highlight key concepts and themes that occur within the Address and early American politics.

Key Questions:

  1. What ideas occur in both the original Address and “One Last Time”?
  2. What does that double occurrence say about the personal importance of those ideas to
    George Washington? To us?
  3. What are three concepts in George Washington’s Farewell Address that DON’T appear in “One Last Time”?
  4. Why do you think these concepts don’t appear in “One Last Time”?
  5. Are George Washington’s concerns still relevant to today’s political concerns?

Materials:

The World Was Wide Enough- Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton’s Duel

Teachers may use Hamilton (2015) song “The World Was Wide Enough” about the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton (regarding the severe political disagreements and hostile relationship between the two) to introduce students to the historical literacy skill of sourcing and corroboration. Students can compare and contrast “The World Was Wide Enough” with primary source accounts of the legendary duel and determine the accuracy of Hamilton’s interpretation of the duel.

Key Questions:

  1. From whose perspective did Lin Manuel Miranda base
    Hamilton on?
  2. Whose perspective is “The World Was Wide Enough” from?
  3. Which person is “The World Was Wide Enough” more sympathetic towards?
  4. Does this perspective follow the general trend of the musical’s perspective? Why or why not?
  5. Looking at primary sources, who do you (students) think is the “villain” of the duel, Burr or Hamilton? Why?
  6. Why might Van Ness’s and Pendleton’s joint statement on the duel might be a more accurate account than Angelica Church’s?
  7. What is Van Ness’s and Pendleton’s relationship to Hamilton and Burr?
  8. What is Angelica Church’s?
  9. Why might those relationships affect the accuracy of each primary source’s version of the duel?
  10. Based on primary source perspectives, what do you (students) think really happened?

Materials:

 Cabinet Battle 1-Cabinet Debate on Economic Policy

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Cabinet Battle 1” either in conjunction with “Cabinet battle 2” to identify the fundamental differences between Federalists and Republicans or to analyze Hamilton’s economic plan to establish a national bank.

Key Questions:

  1. What political party was Alexander Hamilton a part of?
  2. What political party was Thomas Jefferson a part of?
  3. What did Hamilton believe the role of government in economic affairs should be?
  4. What did Jefferson believe the role of government in economic affairs should be?
  5. How did their views differ?
  6. What lyrics from the song support Hamilton’s position?
  7. What lyrics from the song support Jefferson’s position?
  8. According to Jefferson, who does not benefit from Hamilton’s financial plan?
  9. What other major issue is referenced in debate?
  10. Why is this issue of importance?
  11. Whose position do you most agree with? Why (use evidence to support your answer)?

Materials:

http://teachers.d11.org/teachers/knoppsa/Documents/Cabinet%20Battle%201%20Lyrics.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1e93nQakos

 Cabinet Battle 2-Cabinet Debate on America’s involvement in international affairs?

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Cabinet Battle 2” either in conjunction with “Cabinet battle 1” to identify the fundamental differences between Federalists and Republicans or to critique the cabinets position on whether or not to aid the French in their Revolution.

Key Questions:

  1. What issue/issues are Hamilton and Jefferson debating over?

     2. Summarize, in your own words, the main points of Hamilton’s argument.

  1. Summarize in your own words, the main points of Jefferson’s argument.
  2. Whose argument do you agree with? Why?
  3. Why did George Washington agree with Hamilton?

Predict: How would this decision affect the future of Washington’s administration?

  1. How might this decision impact the United States future relationship with France?

Materials:

https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-cabinet-battle-2-lyrics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAc9pchlMWg

Washington On Your SideThomas Jefferson’s decision to resign as Secretary of State

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Washington On Your Side” as an extension lesson following “Cabinet Battle 2,” Students can compare and contrast the lyrics and content of the song with primary source letters written by Jefferson leading up to his resignation.

Key Questions:

  1. Why did Jefferson, Burr, and Madison dislike Hamilton?
  2. Why did Jefferson want to resign from Washington’s cabinet.
  3. How did the song and the primary source differ?
  4. What ideas occur in both the original Jefferson’s letters to Washington and the song “Washington On Your Side”?
  5. How do you predict Hamilton and Washington will take the news of Jefferson’s resignation?

Materials:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j9I-XN1jto
https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-washington-on-your-side-lyrics (Teacher will have to edit lyrics before distribution)
https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-11-02-0095
https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-13-02-0212
https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-11-02-0015

Non-Stop-The Federalist Papers

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Non-Stop” to examine Hamilton’s role at the Constitutional Convention and the battle for ratification that followed.

Key Questions:

  1. Why was Aaron Burr so adamant about not writing Federalist Papers?
  2. What evidence (lyrics) support your (student) answer?
  3. Why did Hamilton feel it was necessary to ratify the constitution?
  4. What was the purpose of the Federalist Papers?
  5. What did Hamilton and the other founding fathers write in the 85 essays of the Federalists Papers?
  6. What arguments did they make in favor of the Constitution?
  7. What was the response from anti-Federalists?
  8. What other concerns did Hamilton express at the beginning of the song?
  9. Predict: How do you think the nation would have been affected if Hamilton did not write the Federalists Papers? Why?

Materials:

https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-non-stop-lyrics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9iLfPP4Ps8

The Room Where It Happens-The Compromise of 1790

Teachers may use Hamilton (2015) song “The Room Where it Happens” to analyze the Compromise of 1790 which agreed to place the U.S. capital on the Potomac and America’s financial center to remain in New York by comparing primary sources to Manuel’s version of what happened.

Key Questions:

  1. What historical event is this song about?
  2. What evidence (lyrics) supports that?
  3. What was at stake in this compromise?
  4. Why is this of historical importance?
  5. What was the outcome of the Compromise?
  6. Whose version of the story seems more reliable, Jefferson or Hamilton? Why?
  7. Whose perspective is “The Room Where It Happens” from?
  8. Is this perspective an accurate account of what happened? Why?
  9. How does Jefferson’s account of the event differ or agree with Manuel?
  10. Is his account trustworthy? Why or why not?
  11. Why does Manuel mean by no one

Materials:

https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-the-room-where-it-happens-lyrics
https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Residence.html#American

The Hornblower Decision and Fugitive Slaves in New Jersey

The Hornblower Decision and Fugitive Slaves in New Jersey

John Zen Jackson

Reprinted with permission from the February 12, 2018, issue of the New Jersey Law Journal. © 2018 ALM Media Properties, LLC. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.
https://www.law.com/njlawjournal/sites/njlawjournal/2018/02/12/the-hornblower-decision-and-fugitive-slaves-in-nj/?slreturn=20180112102020

Joseph C. Hornblower was the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1832 to 1846. He died on June 11, 1864. His New York Times obituary described him as a generally well-regarded lawyer and jurist whose decisions were “marked by learning, legal acumen and high moral principle.” His claim to historical importance arises out of his 1836 opinion in State v. Sheriff of Burlington County identifying constitutional deficiencies in the Fugitive Slave Act (FSA) of 1793.

This federal statute allowed escaped slaves to be reclaimed and also permitted misidentified free African-Americans to be kidnapped and placed into slavery. Unfortunately the full opinion was not officially published. There are contemporaneous newspaper accounts summarizing the ruling. In 1851 the opinion’s most important part was published in a pamphlet. It is reprinted in Fugitive Slaves and American Courts: The Pamphlet Literature, Series II, Volume 1, 97-104 (Paul Finkelman ed. 1988).

 Overview of the Historical Context

Slavery existed in New Jersey from early colonial times until the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery in 1865. In fact, New Jersey was the last Northern state to outlaw slavery. Legislation passed in 1804 had only provided for the “gradual abolition of slavery.” A statute enacted in 1846 stated that “slavery in this state be and it is hereby abolished” but left all the former slaves as “apprentices” or “servants” of their owners for the rest of their lives. That only changed with the Thirteenth Amendment.

The attitude toward slavery in New Jersey has been attributed to the supposed fact that the southern one-third of the state is below the Mason-Dixon Line, the traditional dividing line between free and slave states. However, the Mason-Dixon Line does not actually cross New Jersey. Furthermore, until 1865, the northern counties had more slaves than the southern counties. Most of the southern counties were part of West Jersey, heavily influenced by the Quaker settlers who dominated the area’s population and opposed slavery. The early Quaker abolitionist John Woolman was from Burlington County.

Nonetheless, the southern counties were the frequent hunting ground of slave-catchers tracking down escapees from the slave-holding states who came across the Delaware River into Salem County. The constitutional basis for pursuing the escapees was Article IV, Section 2:

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

In 1793 Congress implemented the Fugitive Slave Clause with the FSA. This statute allowed an owner or an owner’s agent to seize someone allegedly a fugitive slave and have them brought before a federal judge or a local magistrate. With undefined “proof to the satisfaction” of the judge or magistrate that the person seized was really a fugitive and was owned by the claimant, the judge or magistrate could issue a certificate authorizing the claimant to remove the fugitive to the state from which he or she had allegedly fled. Even if the captured person contested the claim, no hearing was required. There were no procedural safeguards. The FSA authorized the imposition of criminal penalties on any person who obstructed the capture of a fugitive, or who rescued, aided or concealed the fugitive. Early case law provides an unsettling attitude toward the subject matter of these laws.

In Gibbons v. Morse (1821), New Jersey’s highest court declared: “In New Jersey, all black men are presumed to be slaves until the contrary appears.” A 1798 New Jersey statute supplemented the federal FSA but was replaced in 1826 with another statute requiring a warrant from a local judge before a fugitive slave could be seized and removed. Procedural safeguards were still largely absent.

 The Helmsley Case

In 1835 a Maryland slave-owner’s representatives came to New Jersey seeking a warrant for a man known as Alexander Helmsley, claiming Helmsley was actually Nathan Mead who escaped from Maryland in 1820. He was brought before a Burlington County judge. Over several days witnesses from Maryland testified they recognized Helmsley as Nathan.

The Burlington County judge was expected to rule that Helmsley was the claimant’s escaped slave and order his return to Maryland. However, one of Helmsley’s lawyers traveled overnight to Newark to obtain a writ of habeas corpus from Chief Justice Hornblower. The writ was served on the sheriff just as the judge was rendering his decision to send Helmsley back to Maryland.

The writ brought the case to the New Jersey Supreme Court. A three-justice panel in Trenton ruled on March 3, 1836, that Helmsley was to be discharged from custody of the sheriff. Following his release, Helmsley relocated to Canada.

 Hornblower’s Analysis

In his opinion for the court, Chief Justice Hornblower noted that both Congress and the New Jersey General Assembly had enacted legislation concerning the Fugitive Slave Clause but with different modes of proceeding. Acknowledging the Constitution and federal law pursuant to the Constitution as “the supreme law of the land,” he questioned Congress’ constitutional authority to determine the manner for resolving a claim in which a person in a free state is to be arrested and transferred to another simply because they are alleged to be slaves. He pointed to the text and structure of the Fugitive Slave Clause in Article IV rather than Article I. Nothing in it gave Congress power to pass such a law. Furthermore, the Clause only required returning those who actually owed service and not those who were merely claimed to have that obligation. While his comments regarding lack of congressional power to enact the legislation presaged a declaration of unconstitutionality, the Chief Justice said it was not necessary to rule on that since the case before him had been based on the New Jersey statute enacted in 1826 and not the 1793 FSA. He highlighted features of the state law. It allowed seizure and transport of a person out of the state with only a summary hearing before a single judge without a jury or right of appeal. Hornblower posed the rhetorical question: “Can such a law be constitutional?” The opinion has several instances of impassioned writing regarding a person “dragged in chains” and being “falsely accused of escaping.” Responding to the contention that a seized suspected fugitive would eventually have a hearing, the Chief Justice wrote:

What, first transport a man out of the state, on the charge of his being a slave, and try the truth of the allegation afterwards separate him from the place, it may be, of his nativity — the abode of his relatives, his friends, and his witnesses — transport him in chains to Missouri or Arkansas, with the cold comfort that if a freeman he may there assert and establish his freedom! No, if a person comes into this state, and here claims the servitude of a human being, whether white or black, here he must prove his case, and here prove it according to law . . .

For Hornblower, this meant a jury trial. The Chief Justice also rejected the presumption of slave status based on skin color and “the danger of oppression and injustice by an unfounded or mistaken claim.” He pointed out that by statute as of the next Fourth of July no person of color in New Jersey under the age of 32 would be a slave because pursuant to the statute providing for “gradual abolition” of slavery “[a]ll that have been born since the 4th July, 1804, are freemen.”

 Aftermath

In apparent response to the 1836 Helmsley decision, in 1837 the legislature revised the procedures regarding fugitive slaves to provide for a jury trial. In 1844, New Jersey adopted a new constitution. Article I stated that “All men are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.” In State v. Post (1845), the court considered the contention that adoption of the new constitution abolished slavery. A majority of the Supreme Court ruled that it did not. Chief Justice Hornblower dissented. He retired the next year.

The progressive view set forth in the Chief Justice’s opinion in State v. Sheriff of Burlington County was effectively rejected by the United States Supreme Court in the 1842 decision of Prigg v. Pennsylvania, but without any reference to the unpublished New Jersey decision. In his opinion for the court, Justice Joseph Story upheld the constitutionality of the FSA of 1793. This statute was later replaced by the more punitive Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. In correspondence dated Sept. 15, 1851, with Salmon P. Chase, the retired Joseph Hornblower commented on this new Fugitive Slave Act: “The law of 1850, even if Congress has a right to legislate on the recapture of runaway slaves, is a disgrace to our Country, an affront to humanity, an insult to the great principles of the common law, and calculated to provoke disunion and rebellion.” This was a prescient comment. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, often referred to as the Man-Stealing Act, is considered one of the precipitating factors for the Civil War.